Seamless Doublewide Blankets with a Smooth Fold
I am planning to weave a double-wide baby blanket. I’m using Cascade Superwash Sport in plain weave with stripes of color in the warp. The Master Yarn Chart suggests 15 ends per inch for plain weave. I’m planning to use a 10-dent reed (I don’t have a 15-dent reed). I’m wondering about the best way to achieve a smooth fold. Should I try an extra weighted thread (floating selvedge) at the fold edge that is removed later? Would using a temple also help?
The key to a smooth fold is keeping the warp yarns spaced as far apart in the fold as they are in the rest of the piece. Almost always, the 2 or 3 warp threads at each edge of a warp tend to crowd a bit more together (even with a temple and with great care). In most fabrics, this is not a problem and helps to provide a strong selvedge. For a double-wide blanket, however, crowded threads make the fold show as a disturbing line down the center of the blanket. Turning the weft firmly, so that a loop of weft doesn’t form at the selvedge, tends to bring those edge warp threads together.
I haven’t tried adding a fishing line or other smooth thread as a temporary floating selvedge at the fold to be pulled out later, but I have had success minimizing the draw-in by reducing the sett at the fold edge. In your case, since the overall sett is 30 epi (15 epi per layer), you’ll be sleying 3/dent in a 10-dent reed. I’d sley the last 6 ends at the fold 2/dent instead of 3. Then, in weaving, I’d carefully monitor each weft turn at the fold edge, avoiding any draw-in or weft loops while also making very sure (this can’t be emphasized enough) to allow enough weft slack (weft angle) in the shed so that weft take-up does not draw in the edges.
Using a temple can help, but you’d have to be very, very careful that the temple teeth don’t push the edge threads together or otherwise affect the sett at the fold. I would suggest adding enough to warp length to allow plenty of sampling (as much as a yard) with a temple and without. Remove a section of sampling, unfold, and wash. If it looks like the sett of the threads at the fold edge should be more open or more close, change the sleying at the fold edge and sample again.
In planning your warp stripes, make the center stripe the darkest color if you are also using stripes in the weft. If the weft is all one color, use the weft color for the center/fold stripe. The more the warp and weft colors contrast in value at the fold, the more the fold will show.
And send photos of the results!
Want to learn more about using doubleweave to weave doublewide cloth? Check out these resources for lots of techniques and project ideas. Plus, did you know you can weave a doubleweave on a rigid-heddle loom? Liz Gipson has an ingenious method that only requires two heddles and a few pick-up sticks. Learn the technique while weaving the cute baby blanket below at right! ~Andrea